James River Plantations

Historic Berkeley Plantation
Berkeley’s history begins in 1619, when settlers observed the first official Thanksgiving in America. The estate was the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia. Berkeley was also the birthplace of William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States, and ancestral home of his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president. During the Civil War, General George McClellan’s Union troops occupied the buildings and surrounding fields. While at Berkeley, General Daniel Butterfield composed the familiar tune “Taps,” first played by his bugler, O.W. Norton. The original Georgian mansion, built in 1726 of brick fired on the plantation, occupies a beautifully-landscaped hilltop site overlooking the historic James River. Enthusiastic guides in period costumes conduct tours of the mansion daily. The mansion is furnished with a magnificent collection of 18th-century antiques, artifacts and historical paintings. The kitchen, located in one of the original dependencies, is newly restored and furnished with colonial kitchen decor.

Grounds tours are self-guided and include five terraces of gardens and monuments. The gardens and lawn extend a full quarter mile from the front door of the mansion to the river banks.  During the autumn season, pick a pumpkin and explore Berkeley’s corn maze. On the first Sunday in November, Berkeley celebrates the historic 1619 landing with the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival. In December, the plantation is decorated with traditional holiday decorations of fresh greenery and natural arrangements from Berkeley’s gardens. Gift shop, museums, tours, films, exhibits, special events and children’s activities make visiting Berkeley an educational and fun experience for the entire family. 

A Virginia and National historic landmark, open daily, year-round. Route 5, Charles City • 12602 Harrison Landing Rd. Charles City, VA 23030. 888-466-6018 • www.berkeleyplantation.com 

Historic Plantations Available for Tours

Edgewood Plantation
Route 5, Charles City • 804-829-2962

North Bend Plantation
Route 5, Charles City • 804-829-5176

Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation
Route 5, Charles City • 804-829-2480

Shirley Plantation
Route 5, Charles City • 804-829-5121

Westover Plantation
Route 5, Charles City • 804-829-2882